Sisse Jonassen works in the television industry in New York City, and the bright lights, noise and chaos of her daily life sent her searching for something a little more relaxed, something that reminded her of her childhood growing up in Denmark. She found an online listing for a small 1795 post-and-beam farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, and even though it looked appalling from the outside, it was in her price range, so Sisse drove up in the middle of February to get a look at the place. It was love at first sight. The open floor plan made the home feel larger than its 1,268 square feet. Although it needed a lot of work, Sisse knew she could create something that felt rustic, simple and welcoming. Thank you, Sisse! And a big thank you to Emily Gilbert for the beautiful photographs. — Amy A.
Image above: In the four white frames is artwork by Norwegian artist Liv Stange. They are embroidered and remind me of sheet music. The dresser is one of those love-at-first-sight furniture moments for me. I found it in the basement of an antique store, and the dark, weathered forest green spoke to me in a way only deep green can. I feel calm when I’m in the room with it. The small Buddha I brought home from a trip to Bali.
Image above: I love the simplicity of the dinning room. There is something quiet about it. The Lady Godiva painting I found in a garage sale. I saw it from the back and was initially attracted to it for its sheer size. When I turned it around and saw the image, I knew I had to have it — even though I had nowhere to hang it at that time. The Louis Poulsen PH-50 lamp is a must-have for anyone of Scandinavian descent. It spreads light in the perfect way, with the bulb being completely sealed off from view, so it is glare-free for anyone sitting at the table. A few years ago, Royal Copenhagen updated their classic Blue Fluted by enlarging the pattern to become Mega Fluted. It’s simpler and less distracting that the original, and I absolutely adore it.
The rest of Sisse’s sneak peek continues after the jump…
Image above: The living room has great light, height and a feeling of space, yet it’s so cozy. It is actually a 2005 addition to the 1795 house, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at it. The floors are reclaimed wide board pine, the beams are salvaged from an old barn and the fireplace is from another house; it was painfully stripped of paint and sanded. Here I keep most of my finds, such as the slender Giacometti-looking figure on the mantle that I found by a dumpster and a discarded art-student project that I treasure. The two small paintings are cheap garage sale purchases, and the larger black and white painting I did myself. The coffee table is one big slab of wood, bent and gnarly. It belongs in the house. I bought it from the previous owners, who felt the same way.
Image above: You have to love NYC! I found this iconic Hans J. Wegner chair on the street. Recognizing it for what it was, I carried it 30 blocks home. To me, it’s an object of art and the essence of simplicity, beauty and function.
Image above: The kitchen was awful when I bought the house, but I saw the possibilities, and I enjoy a challenge. It was dark; there were no skylights, and the ceiling was only 6 ft. high, so you felt cramped in there. Needless to say, I gutted it completely, raised the ceiling, installed skylights and beams for structural support, new windows and a door to the patio. It took a month of working on it every day, figuring out how to overcome an old house with all its crookedness and weird angles. It’s now one of my favorite rooms.
Image above: I love having an upholstered chair in the kitchen and so does Fred. It has a removable slip cover, so I can wash it when there are too many paw prints or foody smells. It’s amazing how much use that chair gets. When you cook, guests will naturally gravitate to it; when you have breakfast, a cup of tea or even just [something] to read, it’s a great place to sit with a view of the garden.